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Thread: Squaring Up Really Long Boards... Tips?

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Perth, Australia
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    6,407
    Assuming it’s straight, I’d then look at the seam and look for gaps. I would mark all the spots where the boards touched and not where there were gaps (gaps were usually at both ends or in the middle). Then I’d take board #1 off, grab a smoother or jack, and just hit the spots I marked.
    This suggestion by Chris is the same as I made at the start (I recommended chalk to mark the high spots). Use a short plane to concentrate on the high spots. I differ in process in that the edges should continue to be match planed since it is difficult to control for squareness over such long boards. This leaves you free to focus on just one dimension.

    Just the high spots. Short plane. Remember that the match planing doubles the shaving thickness.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  2. #17
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Bellevue, WA
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    Having read all the replies and also worked on some boards that were 4 and more times longer than my plane (an LV #7), I think I would try to come up with a design that wouldn't require edge gluing 11 ft and longer boards. First thoughts were to go to a tongue and groove or mating rabbets. I suspect there are other options as well.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
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    92
    Well... today was not a good day.

    On-site for 8 hours, a good 5 of them just working on the board edges. I have zero boards which look flat enough to glue up. I felt like one was almost there. But when I walked the 4' Veritas straight edge down it there were a few high spots (as mentioned in my above post). So the jointer should be able to take down high spots, right? not ride them. Plane, plane plane No change. Plane, plane plane on just those localized spots... 4' straight edge looks good. Take a few full length shavings... now edges look gapped. (as in sloping down).

    Planed a hollow in the middle of the board (about the middle 1/3rd) then ran full length for 3-4 passes (I'm taking a fairly aggressive shaving of about .003" - .005"). Things still not right, plane plane plane. Now it's 8PM I'm tired and grab my track saw track to check the straightness (it is still not long enough to see the whole length, but is about 7' long) . For the life of me it now looks like I've got a concave edge. I guess when I was "locally" using the 4' straight edge. Though it always showed a teeny gap I could never get it to go away. I think I hollowed out the middle. My wife comes over at that point (she's been applying finish to the door casings this whole time), and points out that I've really narrowed the board. Grabbed a tape and sure enough, I've planed away over half inch of material... sigh.

    Not sure where to go from here. I'm starting to have semi-crazy desperation thoughts like going and buying that (stupid expensive) super long tracksaw track and combining with my 7' one and getting a straight edge that way. I was really looking forward to doing this via hand planes... but I don't know if I can't make the learning curve in time. I'm going to go back and re-read all the replies in this thread and try to come up with a strategy for tomorrow.

    2019-07-06 20.01.15.jpg

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
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    92
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Line View Post
    Having read all the replies and also worked on some boards that were 4 and more times longer than my plane (an LV #7), I think I would try to come up with a design that wouldn't require edge gluing 11 ft and longer boards. First thoughts were to go to a tongue and groove or mating rabbets. I suspect there are other options as well.
    What I really want is for the slab (really a giant panel) to be gapless. It is a bar top, I don't want places for spills to run into and wreak havoc with the wood.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    South West Ontario
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    Erich, if you lost 1/2” clearly you are taking off too much wood and not tuning the edge. Use a shorter plane to tune the high spots, start in the middle of the board and work outwards, left, right, left, right etc.
    To ensure the outer edges are tight I have run down the middle of the boards edge with my thumb on sandpaper just pressing in the middle, three or four passes only.
    ​You can do a lot with very little! You can do a little more with a lot!

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Perth, Australia
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    6,407
    Another thought, Erich. This is a time when you might consider using a side fence for the #8 to keep it square. That would also take another distraction out of the picture.

    Here's one I made ...





    Just a block of wood with a rebate. Clamp it on.



    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  7. #22
    How are you supporting these boards, is the big question.

    If it were me I would think about getting a string or wire, and making an effort to be able to check this easily.
    I would be starting with whats the most seemingly stable board for reference, to get the others flat.
    After that, I'd match that with the second most stable board to an even better tolerance and keep these two for reference.
    You can keep an eye on these two masters to see if one warps more than the other, if these boards keep moving I'd just carry on until I came across one that was
    stable,
    It might be worth thinking about using these planks to make a temporary bench from, clamping these boards on edge for planing on, if you have no long enough surface to support the work.

    Reference and proper support is the solution.
    I would make sure I had a good lamp for this, incase you don't.
    Sorry I can't post a picture to show you exactly what I'm on about.
    Good luck Erich
    Tom
    Last edited by Tom Trees; 07-07-2019 at 2:11 AM.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
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    92
    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Cohen View Post
    Another thought, Erich. This is a time when you might consider using a side fence for the #8 to keep it square. Derek
    I've actuallybeen using a Veritas magnetic straight edge on the plane. My edges are square wherever I've checked.

  9. #24
    Seems to me, a fence for a plane would be a hindrance on boards this long if they are cupped or had a twist.
    Just saying

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    South Coastal Massachusetts
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    5,291
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Trees View Post

    If it were me I would think about getting a string or wire, and making an effort to be able to check this easily.

    ... if these boards keep moving I'd just carry on until I came across one that was
    stable,

    Tom
    These are salient points.

    Runs this long require a reference, which a string line might offer.

    I wonder it a dry run, clamping it altogether, might help?

    You may be closer than first thought.

    This is a VERY ambitious project.

    Kudos

  11. #26
    You have a 24” jointer, 11 foot boards, a 4’ straight edge, and not a ton of experience jointer super long boards (who does?!?!). The expectation that you are going to joint these boards ruler straight is, I think, completely unrealistic. This is akin to taking 30 basketballs to the court and saying “I’m going to sink every one of these… from the three point line… on the first shot.” Well, unless your name is Steph Curry, it ain't gonna happen. If you want to sink all those balls shooting from the 3 point line, you are going to have to accept that you will need to grab a few rebounds and make some easy put-backs from 2 feet out.

    In this situation, the “easy put-backs” are mating the boards and knocking down the high spots like Derek and I have suggested. It’s EASY. Don’t make it harder. In woodworking, there’s no extra point for shooting beyond the arc. It’s all 2 points no matter where you take the shot from. So take the easy put-backs from 2 feet out.

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Virginia
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    920
    I have only had a few projects where I tried to joint an 8’ board, and none where I tried to do something 11’ long.

    I started with a chalk line. Ripped to the line with a hand saw to get it basically straight. Removed saw marks and got it square with a jack plane. Then a jointer to finish it.

    If you are trying to get a perfect joint, I would think you would want the last few passes to be with a plane set to take a pretty fine cut. The idea that a full length shaving means the thing is straight is basically correct, but I don’t know how well that holds up when you are trying to measure things in thousandths. Somebody on here wrote once that if you get something flat to .001 and then breath on it, the heat and moisture from your breath will move it more than that.

    The point I am trying to make is that the shavings you have on the floor look thicker than I would be expecting to work for final passes if I was trying for a tolerance as fine as it sounds like you are aiming for.

    Support is important. Even with thicker stock, you will get flex under the plane if it is not supported. If you are edge jointing, I would think that would be minimal, but I have never tried to edge joint an 11’ board on an 8’ bench. Something to keep in mind. When I was doing an 8’ board on a 6’ bench I tried to compensate by adjusting the board on the bench to keep the part I was planing supported.

    Focus on getting one edge as straight and square as you can, then try to match the other one to it by identifying the spots that look high and bringing them down. As mentioned above, keep grain direction in mind if you are going to then flatten the whole panel.

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Putney, Vermont
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    658
    Maybe cut the 11 foot length in half and butt together at assembly.

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    twomiles from the "peak of Ohio
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    7,599
    Sounds more like a much ado about...

    Not enough for a slip of paper? usually, I can glue and clamp it, Jed.....with the first clamps right at the "gaps".

    To keep the panel flat while you are clamping the parts together..use cauls/cawls.....just a pair of boards across the grain, add a c clamp to pull them tight.
    Note:
    cauls/cawls/Kawls...however you spell them...is simply two slightly curved boards...place the curve against a series of boards..like this...) l (, then a clamp on each end to pull the curves flat...and the parts you are gluing up flat as well.

    Do a dry fit of all the parts, and add the clamps..NO glue...and see how it will look when glued up...
    no gaps.jpg
    No gaps, but I could still see a thin bit of light...
    glue up 1.jpg
    3 board glue up...note the cawls holding things flat? Lumber is Ash....
    shadow line.jpg
    Because, without the cawls, there is a risk of "shadow lines" at the glue joints....cawls will ensure things are flat...

    For the desk I am building at the moment..it will need a top about 52" long, by 24" wide...made from 4/4 x 6" Ash planks....should be fun to do....
    Last edited by steven c newman; 07-07-2019 at 12:48 PM.

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    546
    If you think you'll use the longer track saw in the future my advise is to get it, join it with your 7' track, and rip the edges with your track saw.

    I made a couple of long tables from salvaged ipe using a track saw to edge the boards. I left the light saw marks, applied the glue and clamped them up. The glue-lines look good. If your wood is softer than ipe your glue-line will likely also be fine.

    An important factor using a tack saw is that the material being ripped has to be on a flat surface or you will get a slightly concave or convex edge.

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